Author: George McCoy

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How Do I Estimate a Personal Injury Settlement?

It’s never a good thing when you need to seek a personal injury settlement. By definition, it means you’ve been injured in some way, whether that’s injury to your person or injury by the loss of someone close to you. However, we are fortunate to have a legal system that makes legally and safely seeking personal injury settlements as straightforward as it can reasonably be.

But we regularly find our prospective clients asking us a particular question as they start their personal injury settlement journey: How much money should I be asking for? What’s a fair amount to be seeking as a personal injury settlement that will adequately address my damages and financial need, while not making it look like I’m just trying to get rich quick?

In this blog, we’ll look at the different types of damages typically included in a personal injury settlement and how much you should typically be seeking in your claim.

Important caveat: If you’re at all unsure about how to estimate your personal injury settlement amount, don’t just hazard a guess. There are many factors that go into assessing the amount you should be seeking, and you may not know about many or even most of the categories. For that reason, we highly recommend speaking to an experienced personal injury lawyer before ever putting expected damages down in writing.

That said, let’s look at common wisdom about estimating claims.

The Average Personal Injury Settlement Is Between $3,000 and $75,000

Conventional wisdom in the world of personal injury law is that when you seek compensation for damages in a personal injury lawsuit, you can expect to receive (if successful) anywhere from $3,000 to $75,000. Damages below $3,000 typically aren’t seen in personal injury lawsuits; they’d be more suited for small-claims court.

On the other hand, while it is certainly possible to receive claims above $75,000, and you may have heard about personal injury settlements in the range of millions or tens of millions of dollars, these are extremely uncommon. What’s more, these are almost always not economic damages but rather punitive fines. That is, these are not necessarily reflective of the economic and personal hardship you yourself suffered but rather levied in order to punish the offending party for wrongdoing.

For instance, let’s say you lived downstream from a power plant that was dumping chemical waste in your water supply, leading to health issues for you and your neighbors. A judge or jury might award you money to address your health care costs, but if it found that the power plant company was acting willfully and recklessly, it might impose millions of dollars more in punitive fines as an extra penalty.

Still, punitive fines aren’t something that you can control—and the vast majority of personal injury lawsuits are settled before a trial ever starts—so you shouldn’t consider them as part of the estimate of damages you’re seeking.

Intangible vs. Tangible Damages

In any estimate of personal injury damages, there are always two types of injury to consider. One is much easier to estimate and quantify than the other.

Tangible damages

Tangible, or “hard” damages—sometimes called “special” damages—can include things like:

  • Medical expenses. How much did you spend out of pocket on specialists, medicine, physical therapy, hospital stays, and so on as a result of this injury?
  • Lost wages. How much money would you have made during the time period you were out of work as a result of the injury you suffered?
  • Other bills. If you were in a car accident, how much did it cost you to repair your car—or was it totaled and you had to buy a new one? Did you have to rebuild part of your house when an incorrectly felled tree damaged it? How much did you spend on hotel fees while living elsewhere waiting for your home to be livable again?

These are just some of the most common types of tangible or hard damages that you can expect to encounter as part of a legal settlement. These, in the end, are easy to quantify—you just need to add up all your bills. (Incidentally, this is why it is critical to keep records of all of these expenses so that you can prove you really did pay this money and that it was immediately relevant to the injury.)

Intangible damages

However, there are other damages, as well. Intangible damages, sometimes called “soft” damages or “general” damages, include things like pain suffered, emotional damage, loss of enjoyment, and so on.

These damages can be much more difficult to quantify than hard damages can, but they’re often the bulk of a settlement amount, and for good reason. After all, you can quantify being out of work for three months recovering, but how much money does it cost to have an aching body for the rest of your life due to the accident? If you had a car accident, what price can you put on anxiety every time you drive? Or if you had a love of skiing but the injury to your legs means you may never ski again, how much is “may never again do a beloved activity” worth?
For these reasons, you can see why intangible damages are both much harder to calculate than hard damages and often the more sizable part of any personal injury settlement estimate.

While it’s impossible to just put a price tag on things like loss of enjoyment or physical and emotional pain, one handy rule of thumb is this: take whatever your hard damages total is and multiply it by four or five to get the amount you should estimate for your intangible damages.

Setting Expectations

The reality is that you likely won’t get the full amount you seek in a trial, mainly because settlements are negotiated out of court to prevent it from going to trial in the first place. You can also only expect to recoup, in general, what the other party has in assets or insurance. It may not be possible for the person or entity you’re suing to pay the amount you ask.

However, working with an experienced personal injury attorney, like those at Warren Allen LLP, will increase your odds of getting the settlement you deserve. We know how to handle negotiations and estimations to maximize your settlement. If you’re looking to file a personal injury settlement, contact the experts at Warren Allen today.

 

Businessman or lawyer shaking hands with male client.

5 Tips for Finding the Best Medical Malpractice Lawyers in Oregon

If you or a loved one has suffered due to medical malpractice, finding the best medical malpractice lawyer is essential. You may know you need representation, but how do you find the right one? This can be an overwhelming time, without the added stress of worrying about how to find representation and file a medical malpractice claim. The right lawyer will help you navigate these difficulties while fighting for fair compensation.

Medical malpractice cases are complex and technical, and medical teams are often represented by attorneys and insurance companies on their payroll. You will need a lawyer with relevant experience in this specialized field, as well as a good rate of success.

Extensive medical bills and pain and suffering caused by medical malpractice demand a chance at fair compensation to cover these fees and help work toward healing. If you live in the Oregon area, below is a helpful guide to finding the best medical malpractice lawyers in Oregon.

1. Ask for Recommendations

In order to find the best medical malpractice lawyer, you must first begin compiling a list of potential lawyers. But where do you find good lawyers in the area? Often, the best way to find lawyers with good reputations and experience is to ask for recommendations. There are several ways you can find helpful recommendations.

You can start with the bar association. Your local bar association should be able to provide a list of injury law firms in the area. You can either contact them via their website or through their listed number.

Online searches are also a good resource, though they can be more difficult to sort through due to an over-saturation of options. When looking online, it’s important to check reviews for any malpractice lawyer you are considering. Look for testimonials and reviews from past clients. You can also use the internet to broadly ask if any friends, family, or trusted online communities have experience with a lawyer they would recommend.

Finally, take advantage of the professionals in your area. You can check with a primary physician, your insurance company, and even attorneys in other specialties. These professionals may have direct or indirect experience with good lawyers in the area.

2. Review their Background

Once you have made a list of lawyers in your area, it’s time to narrow down the list to the most qualified for your case. This can be accomplished by reviewing their backgrounds: what type of lawyer are they and what kind of reputation do they have within the legal community?

Essentially, there are two types of medical malpractice lawyers: lawyers who represent individuals wronged by medical malpractice and lawyers who defend doctors or insurance companies. If you or a loved one has been injured due to a misdiagnosis, surgical error, medication mistake, or another form of malpractice, you will need a plaintiff’s lawyer.

Once you have determined they are the right type of lawyer for your case, look for client reviews and a history of their past performances within the legal community. You can check with the local bar association to see if any corrective measures were taken for the lawyer in question or if they are in good standing. Also, check to see if they are a member of a personal injury trial association and if they’ve held leadership positions or received any accolades.

3. Look for Relevant Experience

The best medical malpractice lawyers in Oregon will have specialized experience in the field. Medical malpractice is a technical and complex area of law because it requires extensive knowledge in both medical and legal matters. This requires a lawyer with not only a lot of experience but also experience specifically in medical malpractice. They need to have an extensive understanding of technical information and standard medical procedure and be equipped to effectively handle procedural matters unique to medical malpractice cases.

Look for information regarding malpractice on their website: what is their education? Have they published any examples of successful case studies? Do they have a medical background? Check their biographies and look for articles or blogs detailing their experience with medical malpractice.

4. Ask the Right Questions

Law firms offer free consultations. If you have a few lawyers you are considering, take advantage of the free consultation and ask the right questions. How many medical malpractice cases have you handled? What types of medical malpractice cases do you have experience in? How many of these have you won? How long have you worked in the field of medical malpractice? How much of your time is devoted to personal injury cases? What was the outcome of your most recent medical malpractice case?

How these questions are answered will determine if the lawyer has the time, experience, and interest to properly handle your case. It’s important to establish not only what type of experience they have but also their success rate.

If you are ready to consult with the best medical malpractice lawyers in Oregon, consider Warren Allen LLP. We offer sound legal advice and representation for people who have experienced personal injury. Our personal injury attorneys are dedicated to helping you receive compensation and the best resolution possible.

5. Discuss Fees

Finally, it’s important to have a clear understanding of how your potential lawyer handles fees. Most medical malpractice lawyers work on a contingency fee basis, which means there is no fee unless there is a favorable result—your case settles or you win in court. The lawyer will then take a fixed percentage of the recovery, or the amount paid to you. If there is no win, there is no fee arrangement.

However, some lawyers and firms may have other costs related to your case. It’s important to discuss their fee structure before hiring. A reputable firm will be transparent with its costs and help you understand if you are responsible for any costs.

These tips will help you find the right lawyer for your specific situation. Hiring the best lawyer will help set you on the path to recovery and healing.

 

Couple meeting with personal injury attorney.

4 Questions to Ask When Hiring a Personal Injury Attorney in Gresham

Trying to recoup losses after suffering a personal injury due to an accident can be a difficult endeavor, especially while also trying to focus on getting better. Though you may be entitled to compensation for your losses, filing a personal injury claim can be a confusing process without the aid of a professional. Not all insurance companies have your best interests in mind, and they may try to minimize the amount you receive.

A personal injury attorney will represent your best interests while you try to receive fair compensation for your losses. They will not only be an advocate on your behalf but will also guide you through the entire process, ensuring all necessary steps are accurately completed in a timely manner.

If you live in Oregon and have decided to consult a personal injury attorney in Gresham, Oregon, what questions should you ask? Below is a simple guide to help you choose the right attorney to represent you.

1. What Is Your Personal Injury Case Background?

Though you are looking to hire a personal injury attorney, this is a broad category, and not all attorneys have necessarily handled cases similar to yours. When speaking with a potential attorney, it’s a good idea to ask about their background. What is their experience? What kinds of cases have they represented? What was the result of these cases?

When seeking representation, it’s beneficial to choose an attorney who has experience with cases like yours. There are a variety of accidents that fall within the broader category of “personal injury.” This can include slip and fall accidents, auto accidents, medical malpractice, workplace accidents, as well as other forms of personal injury. Ask the attorney you are consulting about their experience related to your particular case and what the outcome was. If they have won cases similar to yours, they may have a better understanding of how to build a strong case representing your interests.

2. What Are Your Fees?

Personal injury attorneys typically work for a contingency fee. This means you don’t have to pay any fees unless your case is won or settled favorably and you receive monetary recovery. If you successfully recover money damages, then your personal injury attorney will take a fixed percentage of the recovery. This percentage can vary, though it typically ranges between 25 and 45 percent. When consulting a potential attorney, ask what their fixed percentage is and what their qualifications are for handling your case.

It’s also important to ask about additional fees. In the event your case is unsuccessful, who pays for the case-related costs? Some attorneys won’t cover out-of-pocket costs if your lawsuit is unsuccessful and will charge these in addition to the contingency fee. Before selecting an attorney, make sure you are clear on all potential fees and what their billing practices are. You may want to explore other law firms until you find an attorney that fronts the costs of pursuing a personal injury claim.

3. How Long Will a Resolution Take? Will It Go to Trial?

Though most personal injury cases can be settled outside the courtroom, if a desirable settlement cannot be reached, your personal injury attorney should be prepared to take the case to trial. This means that they will adequately prepare for every scenario it takes to reach the best resolution possible for your interests. It also means that they have the time to commit to resolving your case.

Though your attorney may not be able to give a specific time frame or promise whether or not it will settle, they should be able to offer advice, general expectations, and a rough timeline. Specific details will depend upon your individual case and the cooperation of other parties involved. However, asking will help you assess if a potential attorney is committed to helping you resolve the claim as quickly as circumstances allow for fair compensation.

4. What Is My Claim Worth?

Each individual case is different, and an attorney will not be able to give you an exact amount of what they expect your claim is worth. But an experienced attorney should be able to provide a rough estimate. This will be based on the particulars of your claim, as well as their past experiences from similar cases.

An attorney should be able to guide you through the process and prepare you for what to expect, including what your claim is worth. They will evaluate liability, discovery, and previous medical history and how it may impact your compensation. Using this figure, you can compare it to other estimates and determine who is offering unrealistic settlement figures and where you should exercise caution.

If you live in Gresham and are looking for a team of personal injury attorneys you can trust, consider choosing Warren Allen LLP. Our expert team offers legal representation, solid legal advice, and exceptional service. Our personal injury attorneys in Gresham, Oregon, will work hard to help you receive fair compensation and the best resolution possible. Contact our firm today and learn what your options are so you can focus on what matters most—healing from a personal injury and recovering losses.

 

Man and woman signing divorce paperwork with witness.

Who Are the Involved Parties in a Divorce Case in Oregon?

Unless you have been divorced before, or you are a divorce attorney yourself, you probably have a lot of questions about how these types of legal cases work. Unsure how many parties could be involved? Don’t know the difference between a petitioner and a respondent? That’s where our experts come in to help. Read on below to find out more information about what is involved in a divorce case in Oregon.

Petitioner

A petitioner is the term used to refer to the individual who files the petition for a divorce in Oregon. This party is also known as the plaintiff. The specific paperwork you will need to fill out can be found online or obtained through a court. There will be different paperwork if you petition or if you are the respondent.

There are some important requirements to note if you are planning to be the petitioner. First of all, the individual who files the petition for divorce must be an Oregon resident. They are required to have lived in the state for at least six months prior to the dissolution of the marriage. Also, the petitioner must make sure that their petition is filed in the county where they and/or the other spouse lives.

If only one of the parties lives in Oregon, the court may still be able to dissolve the marriage. However, this could lead to problems down the line. The court may not be able to require certain things of the party who lives out of state.

As the petitioner, you may have a specific reason for pursuing the divorce. However, Oregon also allows what is known as a “no-fault” divorce. Unlike with other grounds for divorce, no-fault divorce doesn’t require you to submit any proof. The grounds for divorce can just be irreconcilable differences.

Respondent

While one party is the petitioner in a divorce case, the other party is the respondent. The respondent is the defendant to the petitioner’s plaintiff.

After a petitioner files for divorce, the respondent is the one who will then be “served” with a copy of the petition, a summons, and other important paperwork. The petitioner can give this paperwork to their future former spouse themselves. Or the petitioner can also arrange for someone else, such as the sheriff, to serve the respondent.

In order to confirm that they have received the petition, summons, and paperwork, the respondent will sign an “Acceptance of Service.”
If the respondent is unable to be reached and/or found, there are some other ways they can be served. Although that is usually a last resort. This can include a notice published in an Oregon newspaper or something posted at the courthouse.

Once the respondent has been served with the petition, they are given a certain amount of time to file their response to the court. In Oregon, a respondent is given 30 days after they have been served. Once a response has been filed, the court can set a date for a trial, settlement, or mediation.

If the respondent does not file within those 30 days, the petitioner can ask for a default judgment from the court. If they decide to do so, it could mean that the petitioner will get everything they ask for in the petition.

Attorney

The state of Oregon does not necessarily require petitioners or respondents to have an attorney for a divorce case. However, it is still strongly recommended.

One very helpful service that attorneys provide is an initial consultation. Even if your divorce seems super simple and straightforward, this wouldn’t hurt. An experienced attorney may notice something that the average person would miss. That could save you a big headache later on. In some cases, these legal consultations are even free of charge.

Judge

Ultimately, a marriage is officially over when a judge signs a judgment of dissolution of marriage. This judgment will include the division of assets and how court costs and fees will be divided. If there are children involved, this judgment will include custody and child support arrangements as well.

At Warren Allen LLP, you can count on our excellent attorneys and decades of service in Oregon and the broader Pacific Northwest. Whether you are the petitioner or the respondent, turn to us for your Oregon divorce case. You can find more information about Warren Allen LLP on our website. If you’re interested in meeting with one of our attorneys for a consult, you can find our contact information on our website as well.

Male attorney explaining legal paperwork to woman client.

How Do I Prepare for My Personal Injury Hearing in Portland?

If you’ve suffered a personal injury to the point where you’ve decided to bring a legal case in the hopes of recouping damages, then one of the most important parts of the process is the personal injury hearing. At the hearing, you (or your attorney) will present your case and argue why you are justified in seeking damages. Whether you live around the world or here in Portland, personal injury hearings are a critical part of the process, and you should know how to best prepare for them.

What Is a Personal Injury Hearing?

Typically, the term “personal injury hearing” specifically refers to the session where a personal injury case is argued before the judge, who will then determine fault and damages. However, not all personal injury cases actually make it to trial—in fact, the vast majority do not. Only about 4% to 5% of personal injury cases ever see a day in court, as the overwhelming majority are settled out of court.

Colloquially, however, this phrase may be used to refer to other matters related to personal injury proceedings. Two of the most common alternatives that may be called “personal injury hearings” (typically by non-attorneys or other legal professionals) will be personal injury depositions and personal injury mediations.

What’s the Difference Between Personal Injury Hearings, Depositions, and Mediations?

The three are very different in terms of outcome but also share broad similarities. In all of these, you will be telling your Portland personal injury lawyer—or your lawyer wherever else you live in the world—about why you think you deserve to be compensated for the injuries you’ve suffered. However, the differences between them are notable.

What Is a Personal Injury Deposition?

A deposition can be thought of as a “fact-finding” session. In a deposition, an attorney attempts to piece together exactly what happened and the facts of the matter as they related to the personal injury case.

If you are the person who experienced the personal injury, you may be called by your attorney to give an official deposition as to the facts of the matter. However, even if you are not the victim (or the plaintiff), you may be called in to testify. This can be true even if you are a witness to the events that happened.

You can think of a personal injury deposition as a “trial before a trial.” In other words, even though the attorneys are not pleading a case before a judge, much of the same information will be shared—this is the opportunity for the attorneys to gather the information that they will later use to plead their cases in the trial proper.

Most depositions are not held in a courtroom. Rather, they will usually be held at law offices or in other designated spaces owned by the attorneys involved in the case. However, a deposition is a legal proceeding, and as such, you are considered under oath and must be careful to tell the truth so you don’t risk perjury.

What Is a Personal Injury Mediation?

As previously mentioned, most personal injury cases in Portland and around the country are settled before trial. A personal injury mediation session may be one of the ways two parties come to an agreement, or it may be something mandated by the judge after the hearing proper. Either way, a personal injury mediation is a session in which the plaintiff and defendant (and their legal teams) come together to agree on an appropriate settlement.

Unlike the deposition, which is usually just for fact-finding, a personal injury mediation session is usually legally binding and will attempt to resolve the case for good.

What Is a Personal Injury Hearing?

A personal injury hearing, as previously mentioned, involves the parties in question coming forward to argue their cases in front of a judge. At the conclusion of the personal injury hearing, the judge will decide in favor of the defendant or plaintiff and award monetary damages—or alternatively, they may decide that the case should go to mediation, in which case you should refer to the above section.

Either way, it’s important that you know how to behave in these varying scenarios. So whether you’re around the country or here in Portland, personal injury hearing guidelines include the following:

  • Tell the truth. Not only is this a good maxim to live by, but in a deposition or hearing, you are under oath and therefore are legally obligated to be truthful. If it can be proven that you were lying, not only could the result be appealed, but you could face charges of perjury.
  • Be prepared. No attorney—and no judge—enjoys a defendant who doesn’t know what they’re talking about or who has to waste time trying to remember a facet of the event in question. You’re human, and of course, there’s leeway, but you should be sure to prepare as much as possible in terms of reviewing documents and your memory of the events in question.
  • Be on time. The annals of legal history are full of anecdotes of plaintiffs or defendants who forgot their court dates and as such forfeited their cases (and wasted the court’s time). Don’t be one of them. Ensure you know exactly where and when your court date is scheduled and don’t miss it.
  • Dress appropriately. You don’t need to show up to the court in full formal dress, but wearing clothing with vulgar images or slang on it might give a poor impression to the judge. Dress nicely to ensure you are perceived as credible.
  • Don’t take things personally. Whether you are the plaintiff or the defendant—or a witness—people will be challenging your version of the events that transpired. The opposing counsel is legally obligated to do so, in fact. So when the opposing counsel puts forth a sequence of events that are totally at odds with how you describe it, don’t get angry. Remaining calm is the best thing you can do in a court hearing, especially if you’re on the stand.

If you have questions about personal injury hearings in Portland, Oregon, or anywhere else, don’t worry—contact an expert. At Warren Allen, we’re here for a consultation today.

 

Power of Attorney legal document with pen and reading glasses.

Power of Attorney and 5 More Legal Terms Everyone Should Know

You don’t need a law degree to understand some legal terminology, and in fact, there are some basic legal concepts everyone should know. For instance, “power of attorney” is a legal term many people seem to recognize. But what can it be used for and how exactly does it work?

Warren Allen LLP has experience litigating cases in several practice areas, and there are certain legal concepts that are relevant across the board. Here’s an overview of the most relevant and useful legal terms with which you should familiarize yourself.

1. Power of Attorney

A power of attorney (POA) is a legal document that grants someone else the ability, or power, to act on your behalf. A power of attorney can be executed for a limited purpose, such as one specific matter, or for a limited period of time. It may also be executed so that your representative has broad authority to act on your behalf for a range of legal matters.

For instance, let’s say you’re closing on a home, but you’re currently living in another city and are unable to attend the closing. You may execute a limited POA giving your spouse or attorney the ability to sign the closing documents on your behalf for that particular matter only.

On the other hand, you may want to grant a trusted friend or family member the long-term ability to act on your behalf in all legal matters. In this instance, you would execute what’s known as a durable POA. A durable POA in Oregon remains in effect indefinitely or until the power is revoked by the principal. In fact, an executed POA in Oregon is considered durable unless the POA expressly states something to the contrary.

A healthcare POA can also be executed if you want to designate someone to make medical decisions on your behalf. Even if you’re in good health, a healthcare POA is something you should consider in the event you become incapacitated and need someone to act on your behalf. For instance, you may want to communicate your feelings about life support to the person you designate as your healthcare POA and have them respect your wishes should you ever be unable to make your own medical decisions.

2. Retainer

A retainer refers to the fee that you pay to retain an attorney. An attorney may charge an hourly fee or a flat rate, depending on the legal issue at hand. If you are charged an hourly rate, you more than likely will have to pay the retainer before your attorney begins work on your case. Essentially, this is a good faith payment or a deposit of sorts.

The attorney then places that money in a trust account and accesses the funds as needed for expenses and services rendered. Should you have any money left over once the work is complete, your attorney will refund you the difference between the retainer and the amount of accrued expenses. Likewise, if the retainer does not cover the full amount of expenses, you will likely be responsible for paying the difference.

You may also choose to have an attorney on retainer, which is slightly different. If you have an attorney on retainer, you pay the attorney to be available for a specific period of time to answer questions or provide legal advice about specific matters. For instance, if you are a landlord or management company, you may want to have an attorney on retainer to answer questions about fair housing laws, eviction proceedings, or landlord/tenant disputes.

3. Liability

Liability refers to responsibility for a particular action or outcome. In personal injury law, for example, determining who is liable for an accident essentially means determining who was at fault. If a person is found liable, they will likely have to pay damages to the injured party. In some cases, who is liable isn’t entirely clear-cut, and it may be helpful to have a personal injury attorney acting on your behalf.

4. Damages

If you are found to be the liable party in a legal dispute, you will likely be responsible for paying damages—a monetary amount that is either agreed upon by the involved parties or determined by a court of law. Damages can be either punitive or compensatory.

The latter compensates the person for medical expenses, property damage, loss of income, and the pain and suffering they endured as a result of the injury. Punitive damages, on the other hand, are meant to punish the liable party.

For instance, a judge may award punitive damages on top of compensatory damages in a personal injury lawsuit. Punitive damages are meant to have a deterrent effect on the responsible party so they will refrain from any future reckless or negligent behavior that may have led to the incident in question.

5. With/Without Prejudice

Some legal matters may be settled out of court. But in other instances, you may need to file suit against someone to resolve a dispute. If so, a judge will evaluate both sides of the argument and either allow the case to proceed or dismiss it.

If a judge dismisses a case, it will be dismissed with or without prejudice. If the case is dismissed with prejudice, it means the judge has made a definitive decision to not allow the case to proceed further.

If a judge dismisses a case without prejudice, it means that the suit can be refiled with the court in the future. A judge could dismiss a suit without prejudice if certain revisions need to be made to the original filing or if more information is needed before proceeding.

6. Probate

When a person dies, probate is the process in which the person’s will is evaluated and verified before their property or assets are distributed. The probate process ensures the will is legitimate and that it is honored according to the deceased person’s wishes.

If a person dies without a will, a probate court will decide how the assets should be distributed. This can often be a long and drawn-out process, especially if there’s a debate about who should get what. That’s why it’s all the more important to draft a will before you die.

If you want to learn more about estate planning, Warren Allen LLP can help. From obtaining a power of attorney to drafting a last will and testament, we will provide you with sound legal advice and counsel. If you’re dealing with a complex legal matter, make sure you have an experienced team like Warren Allen LLP by your side.

 

Man taking photo of car accident damage evidence with woman on phone.

What Kind of Evidence Is Used in a Car Accident Case?

If you have been the victim of a car accident, it’s important to immediately gather as much evidence as possible. The more comprehensive your car accident evidence is, the greater chance you have of establishing the validity of your claim and receiving fair compensation. This will require documentation to support your claim. The more you have, the easier it is for your attorney to represent your interests with the insurance company.

If you have been in a car accident and are uncertain of what documentation you should obtain, below details what car accident evidence can best establish your case.

Contact Information of Witnesses

When you have been in an accident, you should collect the names and contact information of any witnesses, including passengers in all vehicles involved. An attorney will need this information to gather official statements from witnesses. This will help determine who is at fault.

It’s also best to call the police. Help may be needed to address any injuries or damage, but even in a minor accident, it’s beneficial to have an official police report. A police report at the time of the accident will further determine which driver is legally at fault.

Details from the Scene of the Accident

Accidents are scary and can be disorienting with the stress and trauma of the incident as well as any physical damage or injuries sustained. Even though it can be difficult to think of everything in the moment, it may be harder to remember important details later. In an effort to keep the facts straight, you should record as much evidence as possible from the scene of the accident. This includes taking photos of the accident and taking notes of what you remember and what was witnessed as soon as you can after the accident.

It’s also important to gather necessary information from any other drivers involved, including their names, addresses, driver’s license numbers, insurance information, and vehicle plate numbers. If it’s a company vehicle or they are driving for an employer, make sure to document the company name and contact information.

Photo or Video Documentation

Photographic evidence or videos will help with presenting a clear claim. Make sure to document any damage or injuries. Take pictures of the accident and any damage to your car. If you or anyone else in the car has suffered injuries as a result of the accident, make sure to take photos of these injuries. It will also help to keep a written record of these injuries and damages, corroborating the photos.

Records of Damage

A portion of fair compensation will include vehicle damage. In order for your attorney to determine what is fair compensation and to support the validity of your claim, keep all documents concerning vehicle damage. Keep copies of receipts for car repairs and rentals.

If you recently upgraded components of your car prior to the accident, provide copies of receipts detailing the work done and showing the date preceding the accident. This could include work on the engine or recently replacing the vehicle’s tires. This increases the value of your car at the time of the accident and reflects what compensation your attorney will fairly seek on your behalf.

Medical Records and Proof of Payment

If you have suffered an injury as a result of a car accident, it’s important to receive timely medical treatment. Not only is it critical to recovery, but it also proves the extent of your injuries and that nothing in the claim is falsified. Keep careful records of all treatment received as well as documents noting the nature and extent of your injuries. Make sure to also include all receipts for payments made. These records will document the medical expenses as well as the extent of your injury.

Once you have finished your treatment, request a complete history of these medical records. It’s important to request copies throughout the process, but once you have received treatment, you can obtain comprehensive records. These may include medical bills, diagnostic images, medications, and other applicable treatments or care.

Written Accounts

Additionally, keep written accounts of your injuries, experiences, and treatments. Who did you see? What was your treatment? What were you required to do post-visit to aid recovery? Were you required to pay anything? What was your experience like? Journaling about the events of the accident, your experiences, and any damage or injuries will help you keep a clear timeline and record of events. It will aid in building your case, as well as prevent you from forgetting important details.

Car accident victims may experience “pain and suffering.” This includes physical injury as well as mental pain and suffering. This is an important component of a personal injury claim and calculates in the claim settlement. Keeping a written journal of things such as loss of sleep or appetite, depression, difficulty in returning to work, or any related pain and suffering will help determine fair compensation and a better resolution.

Proof of Lost Wages

If a car accident has resulted in missing days of work, then you may be entitled to compensation for lost wages and income. Gather pay stubs, W-2s, and any other information that shows missed days of work and what compensation you typically receive as part of your car accident evidence.

Proof of Burden

The burden of proof lies with the person seeking damages. If you are the injured party, then you must prove the other driver was at fault. All of the preceding evidence will help prove the validity of your claim.

After experiencing a car accident, an attorney will guide you in filing a claim and ensuring you have all the proper documentation. They will defend your interests with the insurance company, as well as present your case in court if a desirable settlement is not reached.

The experts at Warren Allen LLP offer sound legal advice and representation to help you receive the best resolution possible. Contact our firm today and learn what your options are. We are here to help you receive fair compensation so you can focus on recovery.

 

Man and woman signing Divorce Decree with gold wedding bands laying on table.

Do I Need a Divorce Attorney in Portland Oregon?

Going through a divorce can be a difficult experience, one that is often accompanied by financial and emotional strain. But hiring a divorce attorney in Portland, Oregon, to represent your interests and keep you informed throughout the process could make things go more smoothly.

We know because the legal team at Warren Allen LLP has helped countless clients get a favorable outcome in their divorce proceedings. We’ll explain why having someone on your side to fight for your interests during a divorce is the smartest decision you can make.

You Have Options

You may feel like you’re backed into a corner when you’re going through a divorce, but the first thing to know is that you have options. There’s no legal requirement in Oregon to hire an attorney for divorce proceedings. This means you can choose to represent yourself if you’d like.

If you’re considering going this route, keep in mind that family law can be quite complex. Laws vary by state, so you’ll want to make sure you know what particular laws apply to your locality. There are many nuances to family law as well. A misstep could be costly, both financially and personally.

That’s why it’s important to keep in mind what’s at stake. All your assets, including personal property, financial assets, business interests, and even custody of your children if you have them, are up for grabs when you’re going through a divorce. Think about whether you can afford to take the risk of representing yourself. It will help you make the most informed decision about whether to retain legal representation.

If you have an uncontested divorce, few assets, no kids, and a fairly straightforward situation, you may be able to represent yourself. But even so, you will need to do your research. Thoroughly familiarize yourself with all applicable laws and remember that once a final court order is filed in an Oregon divorce proceeding, it can be exceptionally difficult to alter it later. In other words, make sure you know what you’re doing before deciding to represent yourself.

Summary Dissolution

If you have a fairly simple divorce case and do want to represent yourself, you may be able to proceed with a “short form” summary dissolution proceeding. The paperwork for this type of proceeding is fairly simple and can be picked up from the courthouse in the county in which you reside. Some courthouses even have family court facilitators on hand to help you complete the paperwork.

Even if you decide to go this route, though, keep in mind that you should have a divorce attorney review your paperwork before it’s filed. This can help you avoid potential oversights and errors.

What About the Cost?

One thing that may keep someone from hiring a divorce attorney in Portland, Oregon, is the expense of legal representation. We get it. A divorce can be an immense financial strain. You may be looking to save money. But remember, experienced family law attorneys are skilled at negotiating the best possible divorce terms.

Concerned about paying alimony or losing a major asset? Worried about seeing your kids less often? If you want to protect your investments and ensure the best possible relationship with your children, securing legal representation is key. Many divorce attorneys offer payment plans, and hiring an attorney can save you from the risk of an overall much more costly divorce.

Benefits of Hiring a Divorce Attorney

A divorce attorney will look out for both your financial interests and your best interests. Tensions can run high during a divorce, which leads many people to not think clearly when negotiating its terms.

But an attorney has experience and understands options you may not even be aware of. We can get creative with solutions. We also don’t have the same emotional attachments to the situation. Emotions can cloud your judgment and sometimes impede your ability to find the middle ground that’s most advantageous to you. Allow a divorce attorney to take care of that for you. We can negotiate in a fair, equitable way while prioritizing your needs.

If it’s important to our client, it’s important to us. So we will do everything we can to make sure your interests are always front and center at the negotiating table.

What If You Have Children?

If you have kids, you will more than likely establish a shared custody agreement. You may have to make concessions when it comes to sharing custody of your kids during the holidays or on weekends or other special occasions, for instance. An attorney can help you negotiate the most favorable outcome possible, as we have more experience and are more knowledgeable of custody laws.

And if you’re in a situation where your children’s other parent is suing for full custody, you will most definitely want an experienced attorney representing your interests.

What You Need to Know

Hiring a divorce attorney in Portland, Oregon, should be a thought-out, deliberate process. Do your research. Ask for recommendations from close family and friends that you trust. Read reviews. You should also check with the Oregon State Bar to make sure any attorney you’re considering is in good standing. Then check to see if the attorney’s services are within your budget.

Once you have settled on a few potential attorneys, arrange for a consultation. See how well the attorney listens to you and communicates with you and how comfortable you feel with them. Ask questions about the attorney’s past experience and whether they’ve had cases similar to yours.

If you’re looking for a divorce attorney in Portland, Oregon, and would like to schedule a consultation, contact Warren Allen. We provide legal representation and advice to clients throughout the Pacific Northwest.

Even if your marriage ended badly, your divorce doesn’t have to. Let us be there for you to make sure everything goes smoothly. We can help you close the book on this chapter of your life and begin a whole new story.

Young African American woman holding neck with personal injury after car accident.

How Does the Personal Injury Claim Process Work?

If you have experienced a personal injury due to an accident, you may be entitled to compensation. Recovering from an injury takes time and can be costly. These hardships can range from monetary loss to physical and emotional pain and suffering. Medical bills, lost wages from missing work, repairs to damaged property—the costs can be overwhelming. However, you may have a right to recouping these losses.

Filing a personal injury claim gives you the opportunity to receive compensation for injuries sustained in an accident. This can be the help you need to recover physically, mentally, and emotionally as well as recover any financial loss. But how does the claim process work? If you live in Oregon and are filing a Portland personal injury claim but are uncertain of how it works, below is a simple breakdown of the process. Understanding how it works can alleviate added stress so you can have peace of mind knowing you are on the road to full recovery.

Seek Medical Treatment

The first step in the claims process is getting necessary medical treatment. If you don’t receive treatment immediately for any injuries sustained, it suggests these injuries were not that serious, and it will be difficult to prove otherwise to an insurance adjuster or jury. It is also the most important step in regard to your own health and recovery. Do not delay treatment because you are worried about how much it will cost or if you can afford it.

Keep careful documentation of treatment received as well as copies of all bills. These records are important to building your case and receiving fair compensation.

Consult With a Personal Injury Attorney

Though it’s possible to file a claim without legal representation, it isn’t advisable for more significant injuries or if you’re receiving opposition from the other party involved. An attorney will fairly represent you and your interests while advocating for the compensation you are entitled to. This is especially true if you have lost more than a couple of days of work or have costly medical bills. Insurance companies often attempt to minimize how much you receive, so an attorney can be a powerful ally in making sure you receive the full compensation you qualify for.

If you’re in the Portland area and looking for an experienced attorney for your Portland personal injury, Warren Allen LLP offers legal advice and representation for those who have been affected by these accidents. Whether you have experienced a car crash or other type of accident that has resulted in an injury, we are here to help you every step of the way. Contact our firm today and learn what your best options are. We’ll work to the best resolution possible and help you receive compensation.

Open Claim and Submit Demand Package

A personal injury attorney will then investigate your claim and gather all details pertaining to the accident, injury, and treatment. This includes all medical records and bills related to the accident. Once you have been interviewed and obtained all necessary documentation, a claim is filed with both parties’ respective insurance companies.

Most personal injury cases settle without filing a lawsuit in court. A demand package is a comprehensive collection of all medical bills and documents detailing the accident, injury, treatment, wage loss, and any other financial damage. This package is prepared during the pre-litigation stage and begins negotiations with the insurance company. At this stage, a favorable settlement may be reached.

If the insurance company agrees to fair financial compensation and you accept, a lawsuit will not have to be filed. However, if the insurance company offers a low settlement in hopes you will want to quickly settle, it may require more arbitration. If they are unwilling to offer a fair settlement, the next step is litigation.

File a Personal Injury Lawsuit

If a settlement is not reached, litigation begins when your attorney files a personal injury lawsuit in court. This step should only take place after you have reached “maximum medical improvement.” Your medical treatment should be completed before submitting a demand package or filing a lawsuit because it helps an attorney determine what your case is worth.

After the complaint (the court action that begins the lawsuit) is filed, both you and the defendant will complete an “interrogatory” (a written document comprised of questions that have been answered to gather information regarding the accident) and a “deposition” (verbal questions).

Trial

As mentioned previously, most personal injury cases don’t make it to trial and can be settled out of court. And a very few instances require mandatory arbitration instead of court. This is usually limited to situations involving medical malpractice.

Once both parties of the claim have as much information regarding the claim as possible, an objective arbitrator reviews the evidence and will suggest a resolution, though, it is non-binding. If mediation and negations cannot result in a settlement, then your attorney will represent you and your interests in court and help you receive the compensation you deserve. If at no point in time you or the other parties involved are able to come to a voluntary agreement and reach a settlement, your case will be decided by a jury verdict and judgment.

Another reason your case may have to go to trial is if the statute of limitations on your claim is about to run out. If this is true with your claim, your attorney will have to file a lawsuit in court so they are able to continue your claim. This will, in turn, maintain your right to seek compensation for your injuries and not lose out on such claims because you missed the deadline by which your claim was to be filed within the proper court.

If you have suffered an injury and are seeking compensation, knowing the process of your personal injury claim and having the right team in your corner can help mitigate uncertainty and undue stress so you can focus on what matters most: recovery.

Real estate attorney meeting with middle-aged couple.

What Cases Do a Real Estate Attorney Handle?

A real estate attorney is knowledgeable in real estate law and is equipped to help in matters pertaining to real estate transactions. They can handle all of the legal aspects of a real estate transaction or litigate real estate cases. Whether you need assistance with the legal process of buying property or have a dispute you need to settle, a real estate attorney specializes in such cases and is a valuable asset.

Not only does a real estate attorney secure the legal transfer of property from seller to buyer, but they can offer needed assistance to ensure the party’s interests are protected. Buying a home or property is a large investment, and you will want an advocate who best represents your interests at closing. If you are buying or selling property, it may be helpful to work with a real estate attorney in Portland, Oregon. If you’re uncertain if you need an attorney, read below to learn what real estate attorneys do and how they can help with your particular needs.

What Does a Real Estate Attorney Do?

A real estate attorney has in-depth knowledge of all aspects of real estate law and can offer legal assistance with the purchasing process. This includes the land and any structure on it, for residential or commercial property. They can help prepare and review documents, facilitate the transfer of funds, verify the title is clear, and even attend the closing to ensure your interests are protected.

Their scope of expertise is varied, and they are equipped to facilitate document preparation for land purchases, commercial property purchases, financing, leasing, selling, and new construction property. Additionally, if problems arise during a deal, they can litigate any disputes pertaining to the property and work to resolve the issues while minimizing costs.

Buying a Home

Buying a home or property to build on can be an overwhelming process, especially for a first-time homeowner. There are a lot of steps and legal procedures that must be followed to guarantee a legal transfer of the property. This process includes a number of fees and transferring money, as well as negotiating closing costs and any inspections or repairs that are needed.

A real estate attorney can guide you through all the necessary steps to ensure the transfer is legal while working to protect your interests and help negotiate costs. They will evaluate the seller’s offer and make sure the responsibilities of the seller and buyer are clearly defined. Depending on your state of residence, an attorney may be required by the title insurance company or mortgage lender to ensure a secure transaction.

Not only will a real estate attorney help you understand the purchase contract, but they will also prepare and file necessary documents and ensure there are no liens, covenants, or easements registered against the property. They will also evaluate any adjustments prior to closing, review the papers you’re required to sign at closing, and ensure you have received a valid title with no surprise liabilities. They can also secure title insurance should there be any potential problems in the future.

Selling a Home

A real estate attorney can also be obtained by a seller to help prepare the purchase and sale agreement as well as negotiate the terms. Having an attorney on your side during the process can be a valuable asset. They can fix any issues with the title and securely prepare the paperwork while ensuring a smooth transfer of money and deed. This includes preparing the deed, reviewing documents at closing, and arranging both the security deposit transfer as well as insurance certificates. If you’re a first-time seller, an attorney can be the peace of mind you need to make sure you have legally transferred your home and that your interests are protected.

Boundary Disputes

If you own property, it may become necessary to protect yourself from any violation of your boundary line. An easement may allow someone to use your land for limited purposes, such as crossing your land to access a public road or allowing utility companies to access any pipes or electric lines on your property.

While easements give these parties the right to use your land, sometimes, the issue and property line are more obscured. You may be uncertain about the property boundary between a neighbor. Where does the boundary lie? Or maybe you innocently encroached on the adjoining landowner’s property to make an improvement. A real estate attorney can evaluate the boundary dispute and negotiate a settlement or represent you in court to protect your property interest.

Estate Planning

A subset within real estate law is estate planning. This branch focuses on your assets and what happens to them when you pass away. This includes the transfer of property and the creation of wills and trusts. An attorney will ensure your family is cared for and your assets are passed on to the person or organization of your choice with as minimal taxation as possible.

Landlord-Tenant Law

Renting real property affords both the landlord and tenant certain rights. Sometimes, these rights can be violated, and one of the involved parties will require the protection of their interests. However, it can be tricky to navigate whose rights were violated and how to proceed. Landlord/tenant laws are complex and may require expert representation. These laws apply to both residential and commercial property and cover all aspects of renting real property, such as leases and evictions. A real estate attorney is equipped to handle the diverse and various aspects of this branch, from form reviews to fair housing disputes.

No matter what your legal needs are, our real estate attorneys at Warren Allen LLP in Portland, Oregon, are here to expertly guide you. Whether you’re buying or selling a home or looking for guidance or representation in a current dispute, you can put your trust in us. Our skilled attorneys will focus on helping you achieve your legal goals, regardless of the forum. If you’re in Oregon or Washington, contact us today for exceptional service and sound legal advice.

 

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